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Brain journals: Types of amnesia and how they affect memory

posted Mar 15, 2019, 3:33 PM by Dr. Curtis Cripe
Amnesia is a common trope in movies, TV shows, and literature. Indeed, the idea of a person losing parts of his or her memory is intriguing, but that’s about everything that’s shown on television.

There are different types of amnesia, each having varying degrees of impact in terms of memory loss. According to neuroengineer Dr. Curtis Cripe, amnesia is one of the most unique disorders that modern medicine has yet to unlock. Here are some examples of the types of amnesias and how they affect memory.

Retrograde amnesia
Retrograde amnesia tends to erode more recent memories compared to older ones like childhood memories. The span of lost memories differs widely. Some patients lose days and weeks while others could lose entire years.

Anterograde amnesia
Amnesia is often described as losing memories. However, in the case of anterograde amnesia, a patient cannot form new memories. This is often associated with a damaged hippocampus. Effects of anterograde amnesia can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. For example, drinking alcohol excessively can lead to short term anterograde amnesia while brain damage can leave permanent effects.

Infantile amnesia
Infantile amnesia is the reason most, if not all of us, cannot recall memories from the first three to five years of our lives. It also goes by the name childhood amnesia.

Transient global amnesia
People who develop transient global amnesia often experience confusion or agitation which comes and goes several times within the span of a few hours. According to Dr. Curtis Cripe, people experiencing this tend to lose memories of the hours before these attacks.

Dr. Curtis Cripe is a multidisciplinary neuroengineer and aerospace engineer whose diverse background includes software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, brain injury, and child neurodevelopment. For more reads on neurological disorders, visit this blog.